Apr 21, 2011

How to make butter

I make butter once a week with the skimmed cream from the raw dairy milk. If you don't have access to raw, fresh cream (pasteurised) from the supermarket will work almost as well. Don't use adulterated cream - that is where all kind of yucky things are added like gelatine, stabilisers etc.

How to skim milk...
Firstly leave the raw milk in the fridge for 2 days at least so the cream rises to the top. 

We are very low-tech with skimming our milk, just using a dessert spoon to gently whoosh the cream out of the top of the open-necked glass jar into another jar or bowl while holding it the unskimmed milk jar at an angle of 45 degrees. We like a bit of cream in our milk so leave about 1cm or 1/2" of cream on top to stir in as we use the milk.

To make butter you will need...
  • food processor (best), blender (ok), mixmaster with whisk (ok), or hand mixer (desperate)
  • fine wide mouth wire strainer
  • wide mouth jar or bowl to catch the buttermilk from the strainer
  • smooth wooden board
  • two wooden spatulas (like a wooden egg flipper) or butter pats
  • flexible bendy silicone scraper
  • butter ramekin or dish
  • a clean sink - good food hygiene is important with butter as it is a raw product
  • lots of cold water (from the tap is fine)
  • cold cream - the older the cream the more flavoured it will be (those still passing the nose test)

Let's get started
I pour the cream into my food processor bowl (careful to keep below the maximum liquid level), turn it on. Just using the usual blade.

After 7 minutes or so (in my KitchenAid FP anyway) you will hear a major change in sound as the heavily whipped cream suddenly solidifies into butter and splashes LOUDLY in the swirling buttermilk. Time to turn it off, and take the processor bowl to the sink.

You will see lots of yellowy golden lumps of butter in a thin watery looking buttermilk. I strain the little buttery clumps through a wire strainer, catching the buttermilk in a jar and freezing for later use in baking. 

At this point your butter needs a good rinse to wash out as much buttermilk as you can. 

I usually pop the butter clumps back into the food processor bowl for a bath in cold water, then when the water has run clear (block the bowl's hole or you will lose all your precious golden butter down the sink and you will cry!) strain again and plonk it onto a rinsed timber cutting board for patting.

Its important to wet down the board and timber spatulas so that the butter doesn't stick.

Push the clumped butter down onto the board, scraping it flat as you go. You will see pale milky liquid squish out of the little pockets in the butter as you smooth it out. Rinse your butter down with cold water as you work, sitting the board on an angle so that the liquid runs down into the sink.

When you have squished out the milky water and made the butter smooth and gleaming, scrape it off the board and flip it over so the un-rinsed surface that was against the board is now the top surface, ready to rinse as before. 

Finish rinsing and either pat the butter into a tidy compact block, or using the soft silicone scraper, lift off the board and push into your ramekin or lidded bowl. Ready to eat!

 If you don't use much butter, pop it in the freezer until you need it.

Enjoy...we especially love fresh butter on home made sourdough. Mmmmmm.

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